COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day met with the media Tuesday for his weekly news briefing. Day updated on the team and previewed Saturday’s game in Maryland.
Here are the highlights of what was said.
+ “We took a step in the right direction with the offensive series on Saturday”
+ They work on blocked punts every week and Lathan Ransom worked really hard on it. They wear baseball gloves that players wear to slide into the plates. So Josh Proctor broke his hand in training and Day said that’s when they decided they needed the gloves. Ransom’s game on Saturday changed some momentum. But there is also some risk involved in hitting the punter.
+ Xaiver Johnson practiced more at receiver but he did a lot at running back, he spent his first few years there. He’s done a lot of good things when the ball is in his hands. He learned all the different ways of playing football through special teams.
+ Day said it would be keeping an eye on Maryland and Michigan this week and that it pops up every week and every year. They focus on competitive excellence year-round so that when they get to that point in the year, they’ll know. “March Madness starts here week one of the season.” And they work on the Michigan game every week.
+ The focus must be on how they play on Saturday. They want to build and play their best football in November. “We have a chance of going 11-0 this weekend, but we haven’t achieved any of our goals yet.”
+ Maryland has played really well against teams this year. You’ve struggled with this team before, especially in 2018 when it went into overtime. “We have to play really well.” This 2018 team was an injured team who played well against them and Maryland is always dangerous, especially when they play at home.
+ Paris Johnson Jr. found balance at a young age as he grew up. Football is something he does, it’s not who he is. He has that balance and it’s very important.
+ Dallan Hayden’s talent was there immediately. When he came in, it was just a matter of how quickly he could assimilate and persevere with everyday life as a college football player as a freshman. Sometimes players take longer but Hayden cared about the football and played it and didn’t let the moment get too big for him. “He has a bright future ahead of him.”
On the reputation of the wide receiver room, Day said he wouldn’t have believed it if he’d been told Jaxon Smith-Njigba would be out and they wouldn’t miss a beat. “It’s an exciting time to be a wide receiver in Ohio State.” But Smith-Njigba is one of the best receivers in the country, one of the best slot receivers he’s seen.
+ Toughness is about physicality and relentless effort, week after week. “Then there’s the physicality of looking someone in the eye and pushing them back.” Day said there was a lot of effort put into Xaiver Johnson’s touchdown run. There were at least three down field blocks.
+ In preparing for Maryland, Day said they needed to keep doing what they’re doing and prepare the way they’ve always done.
+ Many players played against Indiana who were injured. You’re struggling through bumps and bruises because it’s November in the Big Ten. They work to get well and heal. But the players are strong and persevere.
+ They haven’t played their best football yet, it’s a constant quest to be the best version of themselves. And they know they have to play better to achieve their goals.